The pilot-machine interface with cockpit automation is a critical factor in achieving the benefits of automation and reducing pilot blunders. To improve this interface, an automatic terminal approach system (ATAS) was conceived that can automatically fly a published instrument approach by using stored instrument approach data to automatically tune airplane radios and control an airplane autopilot and autothrottle. The emphasis in the ATAS concept is a reduction in pilot blunders and work load by improving the pilot-automation interface. A research prototype of an ATAS was developed and installed in the Langley General Aviation Simulator. A piloted simulation study of the ATAS concept showed fewer pilot blunders, but no significant change in work load, when compared with a baseline heading-select autopilot mode. With the baseline autopilot, pilot blunders tended to involve loss of navigational situational awareness or instrument misinterpretation. With the ATAS, pilot blunders tended to involve a lack of awareness of the current ATAS mode state or deficiencies in the pilots' mental model of how the system operated. The ATAS display provided adequate approach status data to maintain situational awareness.